Misdirection is a term which is generally used in theatre or when one is watching a magic show.
Ever wondered why a magician carries a stick around with him? Well, that is essentially to misdirect the audience. I used to attend a lot of magic shows while growing up. And was highly amused when great magicians in India such as K Lal used to make such entertaining and engaging shows.
But then, magicians are not the only ones who are using misdirection. We have politicians who mastered the craft as well. But do we as communicators use it well? I would believe we do extremely well.
- Advertising: Most of the advertisements make you believe in the merits of the product and make it the hero element. There are multiple examples from the iconic Fevicol advertisements to a recent one I saw by Guinness. In the latter’s case, the pretext is selling water repackaged to sound like beer! Oodles of good British Humor also was added.
- Public Relations: This is pretty much known to most of us simply as ‘spin’. How many times have we come across releases which have the world’s “first” and “largest” and a plethora of technology words stitched together to sound unique? Some of these stories do genuinely have a wow element. Others are more spin and less depth.
- Events: Extremely essential. At an event unveiling, the chief guest is asked to keep his palm on an iPad to open the door of the factory. And magically, the doors open slowly. Did you wonder how it happened? What was unknown to most the fact that doors did open on cue when the event agency radioed in the team standing near the door. The audience were focused primarily on the chief guest and the door which was on display on the LED screens.
- Personal lives: Picked up a passion for photography, love to travel, musical instruments, cooking or in my own case running. Yes, these are all misdirection we indulge in. Sometimes these passions we follow also make us pursue an alternate career as well. I know of a friend who was good in PR but started experimenting with photography, she found a niche in food photography and today has combined food photography with PR.
Misdirection help us expand our thinking beyond the usual. In our professional lives we all need these positive distractions to keep the sanity while we stay focused on our daily lives. What happens is also the learning that comes A little out of the box thinking also helps one to follow what we love. What is your misdirection?